Hayward Needs to Invest In Local Youth Sports

The Editors

Youth sports in the city of Hayward are currently lacking as they continue to be placed on the bottom of the priority list for the city.

With seemingly never-ending budget cuts, many schools across the state have either been forced to cut from the athletics budget, which puts a damper on each team, or in extreme cases cut sports programs from their budget altogether because they cannot afford it.

In Hayward, there is a severe lack of funding allocated to athletics at local high schools, and as such it limits the possibilities for students. Without enough funding, the future Stephen Curry’s and Darren McFadden’s, or simply students wishing to enhance their education through the use of sports, will be at a disadvantage to other children nationwide whose schools did provide the tools necessary for growth.

According to Hayward High School Athletic Director Kristy Prasad, if it wasn’t for the Hayward Athletics Booster Club, a lot of her lower level teams would not even have a way to pay for coaching or uniforms.

Mt. Eden High School and Tennyson High School of Hayward place football teams with low numbers and cannot even give their athletes the opportunity to play under the Friday night lights because neither school has stadium lights for their football fields. Hayward High School does not even play their home games at the school, as the field is in no condition to host a high level football game.

If any of these three schools want to play a night game they would have to play at Sunset Field, which as recent as September had to deal with thieves attempting to steal the copper wire from the field. According to Mt. Eden head football coach Paul Perenon, playing there is not an option for his team because he wants to have a home field advantage.

These three schools also do not have gymnasiums that are low lit and currently have floors that are in poor condition.

This needs to change.

We at The Pioneer are not complaining about the facilities in hopes of some new measure to be passed or more funding into the schools athletic department, because we know there are economic constraints.

But we are asking for a call of action for the community to reinvest into its local youth sports. Not just reinvest finances, but reinvest time.

In the last two years Prasad said she has watched as the booster club, which was created and is currently run by parents, raise $12,000 and is attempting to raise the $15,000 she asked for this year. While every penny matters, Prasad still looks at what other communities are doing and says that the city of Hayward is not doing what its counterparts in the area are doing.

San Lorenzo is currently building new football fields for both Arroyo High and San Lorenzo High School, while the city of San Leandro recently passed Measure M which was a $50.1 million school facilities bond that helped renovate San Leandro High School’s football fields, as well as Burrell Field and the city’s sports complex where all youth participate in sports.

“If the communities around us are doing it, I would hope that our Hayward community would be able to do the same thing,” Prasad said. “It can be done here in Hayward.”

We agree with Prasad that the residents of Hayward can come together to find creative and alternative ways to fund local sports.

If you are a parent who may not help out with the team, help the booster club, become an assistant coach if you can and assist at bake sales and charity events. We advocate that local businesses can sponsor a local team, help renovate a floor or buy a scoreboard. As a resident, we hope that you can attend a Friday football game, watch a tennis match, or view a basketball game, or any sport in which our cities children are fully immersed in their craft and a developing passion.

Our youth is our future, if we as a community invest in them we are only going to reap the benefits of it.

“I think what our parents at our school do is just a blessing, without them there are a lot of things our young kids would miss out on.” said Prasad.

In many ways, sports teaches our youth how to become mature men and women. They learn respect, discipline, time management skills, among other life skills.

The need of a parent and community that supports the growth of its youth is essential to the success of Hayward.

“I think the community really needs to get involved but also I think more of our community needs to know the impact that athletics has on our youth.” Prasad said. “I think our community needs to come together and realize that sports is really significant.”

If we as a community fail to realize this, it may be too late to make Hayward a city where sports do matter.